Sensitive Species


Chinook Salmon

Chinook salmon are some of the most cherished freshwater fish in the world. These blue-green fish with silvery sides and white bellies are prized by commercial, sport, and subsistence fishermen. Chinook have been known to weigh up to 129 pounds, although they usually weigh around 30 pounds. These fish are anadromous, meaning they migrate to the ocean and return to fresh water to spawn and die. In Idaho, adult salmon generally return to the Snake, Salmon and Clearwater rivers after one to three years at sea. As they journey home, they face many severe, often fatal obstacles such as dams, pollution, and predators.      

Chinook salmon

Habitat: Chinook need freshwater streams and estuaries to survive. They lay their eggs in deeper water where larger gravel is present, which increases oxygen flow in the water. After they have lived in freshwater for 1-3 years, the salmon migrate to the ocean and feed on other fish in rich ocean waters for 1-8 years before they make the arduous journey hundreds of miles back to the very waters where they were born.  

Food: Chinook salmon feed on terrestrial and aquatic insects and small crustaceans while young, and then primarily feed on other fish when older. 

Facts: Chinook salmon are in trouble. In many states throughout the U.S., their numbers are rapidly dwindling. Scientists are studying their decline and have concluded that there are several factors influencing their declining numbers including dams, climate change, pollution, and loss of habitat. Scientists and public land managers are working to help increase salmon numbers.    

Know your fish! If you are an angler, please click here for more information on identifying salmon in Idaho. 

Chinook salmon
Chinook salmon make an arduous journey to spawn.


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Herbivore Mammals

Pygmy rabbit 
Desert cottontail 
Eastern gray squirrel 
Red squirrel 
Deer mouse
Kangaroo rat 
Meadow vole 
Mule deer 
Bighorn sheep 
American pronghorn 

Carnivore Mammals

American badger 
River otter 
Red fox 
Long-tailed weasel 
Grizzly bear 
Mountain lion   



  Long-toed salamander 
  Idaho giant salamander  
  Coeur d'Alene salamander

 Frogs and Toads  

  American bullfrog 
  Columbia spotted frog 
  Western toad 
  Northern leopard frog 
  Pacific tree frog 
  Great Basin spadefoot 



Painted turtle 
Northern alligator lizard 
Mohave black-collared lizard 
Short-horned lizard 
Desert horned lizard 
Sagebrush lizard 
Western fence lizard 
Western skink 
Side-blotched lizard 
Longnosed leopard lizard 
Western whiptail 



Western pipistrelle 
Western small-footed myotis 
Little brown bat 
Yuma myotis 
Townsend's big-eared bat 
Hoary bat 
Silver-haired bat 
Fringed myotis 
Pallid bat

Sensitive Species (not a complete list) 

Greater sage-grouse 
Pygmy rabbit 
No. Idaho ground squirrel 
So. Idaho ground squirrel
Canada lynx 
Grizzly bear 
Selkirk Mtns. woodland caribou 
Kootenai White River sturgeon 
Bull trout 
Sockeye salmon 
Chinook salmon 
Steelhead trout 
Yellow-billed cuckoo